Head Case by Robert Iles


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    MONICA ENTERS WITH TWO CUPS OF COFFEE, SHE IS DRINKING FROM ONE

      MONICA: I’ll leave your coffee on the table (PAUSE) did you hear me?
      EILEEN: What?
      MONICA: Your coffee
      EILEEN: What about it?
      MONICA: I’ll leave it here. On the table.
      EILEEN: Ok, I heard you, I’m not deaf
      MONICA: Ha ha
      EILEEN: Just don’t move anything
      MONICA: (FRUSTRATED, UNDER HER BREATHE) How dumb am I
      EILEEN: I’m just saying, that’s all, its important
      MONICA: Yes, I do know, remember
      EILEEN: Sorry (pause) I heard that
      MONICA: What?
      EILEEN: That shrug
      MONICA: I didn’t shrug
      EILEEN: I heard it
      MONICA: No you didn’t
      EILEEN: No. I didn’t, I just knew you’d shrug
      MONICA: (PAUSE) You’re right, I did. Can I see it?
      EILEEN: It’s nearly there.
      MONICA: So can I see it?

          EILEEN ENTERS, SHE IS BLIND BUT THIS
          IS HER OWN FLAT WHERE SHE HAS LIVED
          (ALONE) FOR SOME TIME SO SHE MOVES
          RELATIVELY FREELY AROUND IT

      EILEEN: When you get back. Probably. Are they in a hurry
      for it?
      MONICA: Yes. No. Actually most of them think its a waste
      of time.
      EILEEN: Great.
      MONICA: Those that care at all.
      EILEEN: You’re quite a motivational speaker. Glad I spent
      so much time on it now
      MONICA: Happy?
      EILEEN: With the head?
      MONICA: Of course with the head
      EILEEN: Yes. I think so. I’ll be happier when we have a
      name for her
      MONICA: At least we have a gender
      EILEEN: She needs a name, everyone needs a name, even the
      dead
      MONICA: We may never find out who she is, you know that,
      I did tell you that
      EILEEN: But we will find out who she is. You and me, the
      Thompson Twins
      MONICA: We’re not twins
      EILEEN: And our name is Timpson, I know, but the Thompson
      Twins sounds better, you used to read me the
      stories, I remember you sitting on my bed reading
      them to me
      MONICA: Tin Tin and the Suspiciously Racist Adventure
      EILEEN: But it was the Thompson Twins I loved, the ones I
      really remember
      MONICA: Then you should also remember that they were
      totally incompetent, and my name is now Simpson
      anyway
      EILEEN: Simpson, Timpson what’s the difference
      MONICA: A rather expensive wedding, three years of grief
      and a mortgage that would sink a battleship
      EILEEN: Not sure that’s a good analogy
      MONICA: You know what I mean
      EILEEN: Only by reputation, never having seen a
      battleship, or indeed any ship, I have only your
      word for the fact that sinking one ...
      MONICA: Ok, ok, you’re right, bad analogy. (BEAT) Good
      analogy, bad audience - a blind pedant who
      doesn’t realise how hard it is to do this without
      using a looky likey
      EILEEN: Why not do a smelly likey, or a soundy likey or
      better still a feely likey, I’m good at those
      MONICA: Feeling a battleship is unlikely to help,
      smelling one would be even less useful, I would
      have thought. Imagine something the size of a
      block of flats only lying on its side and
      floating
      EILEEN: You’re really bad at this, anyway, back to the
      point, we need to find this girl a name. And a
      family
      MONICA: I told you not to get emotionally involved,
      you’re no good to me if you get all misty eyed
      EILEEN: It wont cloud my vision
      MONICA: Ha, bloomin ha, I have so missed your sense of
      humour
      EILEEN: Its why you love me
      MONICA: You’re my sister, that’s why I love you.
      EILEEN: I took you in when your husband asked you ever so
      politely to leave. That’s why you love me.
      MONICA: I walked out thank you, lets just remember that
      EILEEN: I was surprised he stood you for so long
      MONICA: He knew what I was like before we married
      EILEEN: We all knew what you were like, that’s why we
      were surprised he proposed
      MONICA: I was surprised I accepted
      EILEEN: True. You will find her though
      MONICA: His other woman?
      EILEEN: There is no ‘other woman’ remember? It was your
      fault not his. I meant ‘you will find my head’
      MONICA: On top of your neck, stick your finger in your
      ear and you’ll be pointing at it
      EILEEN: I’ll remember that, thanks, good advice, we’re so
      lucky to have such a highly qualified police
      force
      MONICA: I’ll try.
      EILEEN: Its your job to try, can’t you put a bit of extra
      effort in?
      MONICA: I brought you the skull didn’t I
      EILEEN: That was a bribe, to let you stay here
      MONICA: That was ...
      EILEEN: A bribe
      MONICA: Ok, a bribe, I’ll take it back
      EILEEN: Don’t you touch her
      MONICA: Reconstruction is not very well thought of at the
      station, this is the twenty first century after
      all
      EILEEN: I love it when people say things like that, such
      nonsense
      MONICA: What do you mean, nonsense?
      EILEEN: Well, in 1912 they probably said “this is the
      twentieth century”
      MONICA: Well it was
      EILEEN: And a couple of World Wars short of a history
      book
      MONICA: And a flight to the moon
      EILEEN: indeed any flight, and the internet
      MONICA: And TV
      EILEEN: (BEAT) According to TV you can recreate a face
      pretty well at will, mind you, according to most
      TV shows your lot are all corrupt and depressive,
      or drunk and separated .. wait, maybe its true
      MONICA: We’d normally only use it on very high profile
      cases
      EILEEN: As opposed to what? Unknown, unidentified, bodies
      no one cares about? If her skull was a few
      hundred years old, or in the way of a new road,
      or under a chalk hill people would spend a
      fortune guessing who she might have been and
      speculating on how she died.
      MONICA: If it was a few thousand years old it’d be in a
      museum having had more scans and science spent on
      it than anyone living, but what’s your point?
      EILEEN: People seems to care more for the identity of the
      archaeologically dead than for forensics. The
      recently dead don’t seem to count for much
      MONICA: We do our best
      EILEEN: A really low priority. (PAUSE) Sorry.
      MONICA: I don’t know why you’re giving me a hard time,
      I’m the one trying to actually do something,
      change attitudes
      EILEEN: One skull at a time
      MONICA: If you must be so, ...
      EILEEN: Anatomical?
      MONICA: (PAUSE) I’ll find her. I can be an optimist too
      you know
      EILEEN: Glass half full,...
      TOGETHER: and a chaser on the side
          EILEEN STARTS TO CROSS TO THE SOFA,
          BANGS INTO A STOOL
      MONICA: Sorry, sorry, I moved it last night when we were
      talking, forgot to put it back, sorry
      EILEEN: Its ok, I never think things might have moved,
      there’s normally only me here to move them
      MONICA: There, its back, I should have thought, sorry
      EILEEN: (FEELING HER BRAILLE WATCH) Stop apologising,
      hadn’t you better go, if you’re going this
      evening
      MONICA: You’re right. I’ll go. Back home soon
      EILEEN: If he’ll have you. That’s not what I meant
      MONICA: I know, but I should, really, we’re all grown ups
      EILEEN: Didn’t stop you acting like a spoiled brat
      MONICA: You’re supposed to be on my side
      EILEEN: You’re my sister. Now go find out who our young
      lady here is .... was ... is
      MONICA: Do you know how many people go missing each year
      EILEEN: No, but I suspect that most of them simply turn
      up again, or don’t want to be found
      MONICA: Ok, so do you know how many unnamed bodies turn
      up each year
      EILEEN: No, no I don’t
      MONICA: Neither do I. Lots.
      EILEEN: I thought a murder case was never closed?
      MONICA: Its not. Not all bodies are murder you know
      EILEEN: You said this skull was found ...
      MONICA: Yes, this one looks very like it is, very very
      like
      EILEEN: It’s a good starting point
      MONICA: Except that you’re making her into a victim not
      just a person
      EILEEN: I’m not making her anything. She is what she is,
      I’m just putting flesh back on the bones
      MONICA: From clay we are made, in clay she returns
      EILEEN: Its .... well, its just I can feel what her face
      should be, I know what faces feel like, that’s
      all I’m doing, making it feel right ... making
      her feel right
      MONICA: Listen, I made up an invoice for your work, I’ll
      take it in, you’ll get paid
      EILEEN: I don’t want to be paid for this
      MONICA: No, but I need you to be paid
      EILEEN: I thought you said your budgets were tight. No
      money for Jane Doe
      MONICA: No money for computer generated reconstruction,
      no. Clay work is cheap, according to this invoice
      anyway. I have gone out on a limb here and I need
      to legitimise it with an invoice; that way I can
      only get in mild trouble.
      EILEEN: As opposed to?
      MONICA: The mega trouble I would get into if someone
      spotted I’d taken a skull from an open dead body
      case to give to my sister to play with
      EILEEN: Reconstruct
      MONICA: Its a matter of perception
      EILEEN: Your lot seem to prefer suspicion to perception.
      Its even later now by the way. If you’re going
      MONICA: Right. Listen ...
      EILEEN: Go
      MONICA: Ok, ok, later. (PAUSE) Don’t go crazy home alone
      will you
      EILEEN: I have plenty of people to talk to
      MONICA: On the phone
      EILEEN: In my head
      MONICA: You talk to the head? Heads you sculpt?
      EILEEN: No, its a bust, you can’t talk to a bust! I talk
      to the people in my head
      MONICA: Talking to yourself, not a good sign, I worried
      it would turn you crazy
      EILEEN: Actually I listen mostly and its not so much
      myself as other voices, like sitting in a cafe
      and listening to conversations from other tables.
      MONICA: You’re weird
      EILEEN: Could be
      MONICA: Definitely
      EILEEN: Well, everyone is a bit weird so being a bit
      weird is pretty normal
      MONICA: Insanely logical, with the emphasis on the insane
      EILEEN: Anyway, I do go out. Meet other people, go to the
      cinema, I get a discount you know, concerts, wine
      bars
      MONICA: Blind dates?
      EILEEN: At least I have a life outside work
      MONICA: So do I
      EILEEN: Really? Here’s Monica, by day she’s a
      policewoman, she wants to change the world and
      her hobbies include ... well? Got any hobbies?
      And I don’t include meeting up with colleagues
      after work or winding up your poor sister ....
      MONICA: Who’s winding who up here?
      EILEEN: You. Me.
      MONICA: And I’m a detective constable thank you so much.
      EILEEN: Should be an inspector at your age
      MONICA: Thank you
      EILEEN: And working on something better than sweeping up
      the lost and cold cases
      MONICA: Had enough?
      EILEEN: Not sure, how about your failing marriage
      MONICA: (FRUSTRATED) At least I’m not blind!
          PAUSE. BOTH START LAUGHING
      EILEEN: Good lord you haven’t said anything like that
      since I was ten!
      MONICA: I ran out of arguments
      EILEEN: You mean I won?
      MONICA: Ok, ok, you won
      EILEEN: Sorry, I shouldn’t have pushed it
      MONICA: But you’re right, passed by and pushed aside ...
      damn it, damn them
      EILEEN: Well, crack this case and lets see if it can kick
      start your career ... Thompson Twins rule
      MONICA: It’ll take more than this, cold cases don’t count
      for much
      EILEEN: Glass half full remember, Now, before you go,
      given that your departments budget doesn’t run to
      a Braille printer, can you just run what you have
      about her past me
      MONICA: I didn’t think you wanted to know?
      EILEEN: I didn’t, but she’s almost done now so it wont
      affect me, might help me finish off
      MONICA: (READING) Female, found buried in Shelley’s Wood,
      no dental record matches, light colour hair,
      early twenties, probably, caucasian as far as we
      can tell, wasn’t much to go on
      EILEEN: Height?
      MONICA: We only found the head
      EILEEN: You didn’t tell me that
      MONICA: Is it relevant?
      EILEEN: It was, I mean it would ... just the head?
      MONICA: According to the paperwork
      EILEEN: Gross
      MONICA: She’s a no-body
      EILEEN: Very funny
      MONICA: We’re pretty sure it wasn’t suicide
      EILEEN: That’ll be your professional Police training
      again will it?
      MONICA: You now know as much as we do
      EILEEN: And it really was just a head? I mean, your lot
      had a really good look around?
      MONICA: Now let me think ... of course we did, we’re not
      stupid, not that stupid. (BEAT) Some of us are
      not that stupid.
      EILEEN: So we’re trying to match this head to a body,
      some-body?
      MONICA: Not much to ask, we’ve never found a body we
      could match up
      EILEEN: I don’t think I want to think about that, what a
      job, speaking of which you’d better go, get to
      work, leave now, the sooner you’re gone, the
      sooner you’re back ...
      MONICA: Ok, ok, bully. I wont be long. You going to be
      alright?
      EILEEN: Light. Don’t forget to turn off the light
      MONICA: Say ‘hi’ to those voice in your head for me ...
      weirdo
      EILEEN: Thanks

          MONICA LEAVES. MONICA TURNS OUT THE
          LIGHTS ON HER WAY OUT WHICH IS WHEN
          GEORGIE APPEARS, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF
          THE SNAP TO BLACK BEFORE SOME SIDE
          LIGHTING FADES UP. GEORGIE IS DRESSED
          IN BLACK, BACK TO THE AUDIENCE,
          LOOKING IN A MIRROR

          IT IS IMPORTANT THAT GEORGIE’S
          BEHAVIOUR IS SEEN AS PERFECTLY NORMAL
          THROUGHOUT BUT THAT SHE NEVER
          ACTUALLY TOUCHES OR MOVES ANYTHING -
          NEVER PHYSICALLY INTERACTS WITH
          ANYTHING - SHE CAN SIT, STAND, LOOK
          BUT NOT TOUCH, WELL, NOT IN SUCH A
          WAY AS TO AFFECT THE EXTERNAL OBJECT
          EILEEN WALKS BACK TO HER STOOL,
          CAUTIOUSLY UNTIL SHE IS PAST WHERE
          THE CHAIR HAD BEEN MOVED. SHE SITS,
          REACHES OUT AND FINDS THE COFFEE,
          SWEARS UNDER HER BREATHE AND REPOSITIONS
          SOME OF HER TOOLS.

      EILEEN: Now then my friend, how are you doing? I think
      you’re finished but I didn’t want her to know
      that till we’ve had time for a chat, once she
      gets hold of you it’ll be all third person and
      official talk. Let’s tidy you up a bit, breathe
      some more life back into you. (PAUSE) What’s your
      story girl of clay, talk to me.
          PAUSE
      GEORGIE: I’m Gee
      EILEEN: Who’s that?

[end of extract]

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